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I meant to casually leaf through a few selectionsimpossible About as much fun as books about movies get. During a 4 hour lull for a movie, I stopped into an Indigo in Toronto on Bloor St W and got lost in several books, one of which was this one.It s actually incredible the power of cinema and the breakdown of some of the most iconic and amazing moments ever recorded on film and audio.I don t know if I d own a book like this, but it was great to pass the time enveloped in the magic of the story again and the pages of the book. This book covers some good movies, some of my fave movies, loved it, with 200 illustrations. Interesting concept from a great movie writer Pick a moment from a famous or lesser known movie and describe how it feels, or what it does to you, or how it makes you think I haven t seen all of these movies, by any means particularly the French and Japanese films , and some I would definitely not have chosen Burn After Reading , but every discussion is thought provoking David Thomson makes us look at movies in a different way, and I will be giving a lot of these movies a second or first look. Moments That Made the Movies contains some pleasingly atypical selections of both films and moments within them, but too many that seem generic Even surprisingly, Thomson s prose is for large stretches equally generic Thomson is an excellent and astute critic, but seems too constricted by the conceit, the format, and the restrictions which he s placed upon himself To his credit, he recognizes this, stating multiple times the flaws in the model, including the difficulty and or impossibility of describing various scenes or moments, and the fact that those tend to be lesser films which can be reduced to one moment as opposed to being a cohesive greater whole at the expense of memorable individual scenes Rather than setting about disproving these various potential flaws of his attempt, however, he seems willing to simply let his acknowledgments stand as excuses so that he can fall back on them and say I told you so when said shortcomings do in fact end up playing out.The book is in some ways almost too personal you want that personal touch, naturally, but what one loves most, perhaps especially in films, often can t easily be explained or rationalized, even by a professional, and Thomson s attempts to do so often feel like the explanation a joke, where much or all of the magic is systematically removed in the process and one is left feeling at the end as if they are clinically examining the disassembled parts of a now unrecognizable piece of machinery The focus on specific moments can t help but bring to mind the listlessness of text trying to reproduce what originated as motion, even if it is in the admirable task of trying to evoke what makes it so beloved The films are presented in such a way that does not especially give much new insight to someone who has seen them, nor present those unseen as being particularly compelling and worth seeking out, which leaves this book in the position of being perfectly serviceable and yet largely, if not wholly, unnecsssary This ineffectiveness of the essays for each moment renders the book hardly better than just a list would have been, and in many ways this book best serves the function of a mere list, prompting the reader to create and compare the author s to her own.There is barely distinguishable any of the freewheeling feel and passion that Thomson exudes in his New Biographical Dictionary of Film that book, too, has its flaws to be sure, but could never be described as boring or joyless Here, Thomson often lapses into a gloomy tone, as if nostalgically looking back to a type of movie which is without exception no longer made, but to accept this means to accept the dual fallacy that is always part and parcel of nostalgia, its two parts being that, implicitly, the memories are better than the reality, and two, that what is being mourned is definitviely in the past and is no Thomson seems to be actively trying to disprove the first part, arguing rather too forcefully at times in favor of moments, as if only barely able to convince himself, much less his readers, of the legitimacy of their greatness.The book s formatting almost seems hyper antic to counteract this glumness of tone, with multiple gaudy pull quotes and would be witty captions that feel cynically designed to distract from the prose itself This feeling of trying to juice the material makes it feel even substandard for Thomson than it does in its own right, and it does not exactly speak well of a text if a pull quote is needed for every brief two to three page essay, as if the material isn t compelling enough to command the reader s attention on its own This flashiness becomes weary soon into the book and contiunes for another 250 pages The text itself has a somewhat uneven feel as well, with tidbits of knowledge and trivia often feeling inserted arbitrarily, lacking a proper fit in the piece as is but included at the insistence of the author presumably, who may have too great a stature to be properly reined in in the editing process Such reining in would also likely have included the excision of various would be clever gibes that come across as forced and glib However, for a reader willing to play the role of editor and pick through the book for its own moments of merit, there are certainly a number of nuggets to be found, though likely not enough to be worth the effort or to make this book especially recommendable. My favorite writer on film Shaking my head all throughout this book, marveling at the intelligence and wonder of his prose Truly inspiring to me. .DOWNLOAD E-PUB ♾ Moments That Made the Movies ☼ In His First Fully Illustrated Work, David Thomson Breaks New Ground By Focusing In On A Series Of Moments Which His Readers Will Also Experience In Beautifully Reproduced Imagery From Seventy Two Films Across A Year Plus Span An Indispensable Counterpart To Both His Classic Biographical Dictionary Of Film Called A Miracle By Sight And Sound And His Lauded Recent History, The Big Screen A Pungently Written, Brilliant Book According To David Denby , Moments Takes Readers On An Unprecedented Visual Tour, Where The Specifics Of The Imagery The Reader Is Seeing Are Inextricably Tied To The Text Thomson S Moments Range From A Set Of Eadweard Muybridge S Pioneering Photographs To Sequences In Films From The Classic Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard, The Red Shoes To The Unexpected The Piano Teacher, Burn After ReadingThe Excitement Of Momentss Dynamic Visuals Will Be Matched Only By The Discussion It Incites In Film Circles, As Readers Revisit Their Own List Of Memorable Moments And Then Re Experience The Films Both Those Included On Thomson S List And From Their Own Life As Never Before Moments That Made The Movies Will Undoubtedly Reaffirm Thomson S Place As According To John Banville The Greatest Living Writer On The Movies I m not quite sure what you d make of this book if you weren t already familiar with David Thomson s work Paradoxically if you are familiar with Thomson s work, you maybe frustrated by some of the repetition Thomson s basic thesis is that we don t remember film s whole, it is normally two or three key moments that encapsulate a film for us He proceeds to illustrate this by writing vignettes about key moments from 70 odd films spanning, near enough, the history of cinema The approach has weaknesses This is not a history of cinema and sometimes films suffer when they are discussed sans context although the book is good at some key historical turning points, such as the French New Wave and its impact on American cinema As with all writing on film I suspect that sometimes it makes little sense if you haven t seen the movie in question eg the entry on L Eclipse But it also has strengths this is a Thames and Hudson book and is beautifully illustrated It also mirrors Thomson s own strengths Films are not just seen as the creation of the director and Thomson is particularly good at what it is that stars bring to the movies see the entry on Dietrich and Gary Cooper in Morocco, for example , but he is also good at the roles of cinematographers, composers and producers He is also both imaginative, you may think his interpretations are little than flights of fantasy, and iconoclastic I don t think much of most of his selections post 1990 When he is good, he is brilliant I d highlight the treatment of Sansho the Baliff, The Conformist, Citizen Kane, The Third Man, and, above all, The Searchers, the ending of which he captures in its full magnificance and this is by one of John Ford s fiercest critics But even when he is wrong he can be enlightening In my book he mistreads both Taxi Driver and Don t Look Now, but both sections are well worth reading Right at the start Thomson warns us that he is not going to discuss what has got excluded and why, but it is an inevitable that you will want to play this game My two penneth on what ought to have been there would include Vertigo the moment when Judy becomes Madeline its suffused with green light you will remember it the death of Kyz at the burning mill in the Seven Samurai all four elements are in turmoil either the moment when Claudia Cardinale first appears in The Leopard or when she re appears in Eight and a half, transforming both films in the blink of an eye Daniel Day Lewis squaring off with Paul Dano in There Will be Blood or, finally, Robert de Niro in Raging Bull, rehearsing On the Waterfront into a mirror this is as good as acting can get, notwithstanding Day Lewis and Dano.If you like films I d recommend both that you get this and read it, it is not just a coffee table book. I don t think David Thomson has to write books for anyone but himself any, and this book seems to be mostly about his own reveling in the movie moments he most likes You re better off with his Biographical Dictionary of Film to learn about the movies and stars The narrative of this book is mainly You Gotta See This plus a reflection on how most of these movies are about watching movies Which is reveling on Thomson s part, I think I want to say that this book s best feature is its lavish illustrations, but actually many of the moments perhaps because they re so specialized are rather fuzzily illustrated, and the heft and feel of the book is that of a textbook than a coffee table showpiece And it is listed at 39.95 I got mine for a buck at a library sale.The best thing about the book for me besides the stills from Laura and The Bandwagon is Thomson s discussion of recent movies I ve missed but which seem terrific when Thomson revels in them e.g., Birth, In the Cut, A History of Violence I ll have to make it a point to see them. Not the most scholarly of works, but not a trivial listing of scenes either Rather, an interesting collection that seems so natural that you wonder why no one has done this before Each moment presents a glimpse into a film that makes you want to see it in its full context the whole collection reminding you of one of those desert island movie lists that you talk about with friends, or perhaps on a first date as you try to figure out who who is this person Sure, there are some obvious moments that are missing while other less obvious moments are included, but that only adds to its charm It s a fun if not thought provoking read that will have you contemplating your own favorite movie moments.